The UK Government has announced its biggest investment in a generation into tidal power, kickstarting a new chapter for the UK’s tidal energy industry.
The UK Government will invest £20 million per year across the UK in tidal stream electricity as part of its flagship Contracts for Difference renewable energy auction scheme. This will strengthen energy security by adding to the country’s diverse, renewable electricity supply and create jobs across the UK’s coastal communities.
Interreg France (Channel) England project TIGER, which is the biggest ever Interreg project, was established to drive forward tidal stream energy in the UK and France and demonstrate the viability of achievable cost reduction across the sector.
TIGER lead partner Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult has been calling for a ring-fenced amount dedicated to tidal stream energy in governmental investment plans. Therefore, this announcement is a significant milestone for the tidal stream industry.
As part of the fourth allocation round of the Contracts for Difference Scheme due to open next month, the UK Government will ensure that £20 million per year will be ringfenced for tidal stream energy projects, giving the marine energy sector a chance to develop their technology and lower their costs in a similar way to the offshore wind industry. This will bring the total funding for this allocation round to £285 million per year UK wide.
Dr Stephen Wyatt, ORE Catapult’s Research & Innovation Director, and TIGER project Sponsor, commented:
“We are delighted with this announcement, which sees the tidal stream industry reinstated on their journey to large-scale power generation in the UK. Depending on the prices bid by project developers, we estimate that this announcement could enable between 30MW and 60MW of tidal stream capacity deployed in UK waters between 2025 and 2027.
“This fires the starting gun for tidal to establish itself in the UK’s energy system mix, encouraging deployment that will drive cost reduction towards £90MWh at 1GW deployed capacity. Long term benefits could be a net cumulative benefit to the UK by 2030 of £1.4bn, including considerable exports and the creation of around 4,000 jobs.
“Given the tenacity and capability of the industry and their supporters, we can be confident the UK can now make rapid progress on the journey towards commercialisation in UK waters.”